NZ's energy future (7 Sep, 2017)

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NZ's energy future (7 Sep, 2017)

Postby aardvark_admin » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:20 am

This column is archived at: http://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2017/0907.shtml

Are market-forces going to do the job when it comes to encouraging a transition from fossil fuels to EVs?

Will people install renewable energy generation themselves -- simply because it's a good idea?

Or should government be taking a lead on this and investing the money that will be saved by a transition to EVs into schemes that make them more affordable to people "right now"?

Surely it's better to be spending money on vehicles that don't pollute and slash our oil-importation bill than it is to simply keep buying petrol from offshore?

And isn't it essential that we start moving *now* to ensure we have enough renewable generation sources to meet the demand that EVs will place on our power system?

Or will, due to a complete lack of government foresight, we simply wake up one morning to find that we're years behind the rest of the world and at a huge environmental and economic disadvantage when compared to the rest of the developed world?
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Re: NZ's energy future (7 Sep, 2017)

Postby hagfish » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:37 am

Townies are dependent on networked power, water, sewerage, Internet, food, clothing etc. About the only thing we still do for ourselves is drive, and soon that will be networked, too. We give up a degree of freedom and resilience, in exchange for convenience and efficiency. It's much easier to do my job-thing and just hand over some 'money' each month for power, than to futz about on my roof cleaning panels and checking batteries. There's a certain kind of person who loves all this stuff, but most people just want to flick a switch. Having meekly given up my independence, I don't really want it back again.

The future is expensive, inconvenient, and scary. We can't leave our energy provision to the market, but our enfeebled 'democratic' institutions are't going to fix things, either. That's it, I suppose. We are out of tools. Can't complain, tho. We've had a good run.

EDIT: The new Nissan Leaf looks great, tho.
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Re: NZ's energy future (7 Sep, 2017)

Postby Hiro Protagonist » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:49 am

Just a little rant about "market forces" - while they are useful in driving a market to eliminate waste and excess profiteering, they're far from the be-all and end-all that some ideologically driven types would like to think.

Market forces for instance, exacerbate housing crises as we've seen here in N.Z. The vast majority of new building work is focussed at the upper end of the market, where margins are highest. What is needed is not a bunch of builders and subbies spending several months building a McMansion, rather we need factories turning out no-frills kitsets that can be quickly[1] erected so that people like firefighters, teachers, shop assistants, council workers etc can afford to live in our cities.

[1] We need to be able to create new homes not only quick enough to keep up with growth, but also to get ahead of the backlog created by the "what housing crisis?" ideologically driven Nats.

Similarly, in the energy market, we cannot expect "market forces" to deal with the situation when the dominant market player turns out to pose an existential threat.
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Re: NZ's energy future (7 Sep, 2017)

Postby Screw » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:36 pm

Hiro Protagonist wrote:Just a little rant about "market forces" - while they are useful in driving a market to eliminate waste and excess profiteering, they're far from the be-all and end-all that some ideologically driven types would like to think.

Market forces for instance, exacerbate housing crises as we've seen here in N.Z. The vast majority of new building work is focussed at the upper end of the market, where margins are highest. What is needed is not a bunch of builders and subbies spending several months building a McMansion, rather we need factories turning out no-frills kitsets that can be quickly[1] erected so that people like firefighters, teachers, shop assistants, council workers etc can afford to live in our cities.

[1] We need to be able to create new homes not only quick enough to keep up with growth, but also to get ahead of the backlog created by the "what housing crisis?" ideologically driven Nats.

Similarly, in the energy market, we cannot expect "market forces" to deal with the situation when the dominant market player turns out to pose an existential threat.


'Market forces' don't drive the market, big business does. The biggies decide what we must pay and set their prices accordingly.

The largest cost of a new house is the dirt its sitting on. Because with the exception of Hawaii and Iceland, they're not making any more of it.

The Gubby doesn't want to have anything to do with social services, heck that means that a Minister would have to actually do something for their salaries!

Houses are pretty much modular today, even the McMansions. The floor slab is laid down by a contractor crew in a day. The framing is all pre-made and transported to the site and the roof trusses etc are too. The Builders are almost just assembly line workers.
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Re: NZ's energy future (7 Sep, 2017)

Postby Muscular Jam » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:55 pm

aardvark_admin wrote:So why aren't any of our political parties (aside from the Greens perhaps) using this as a key component of their policies in the lead-up to the elections that are just a few weeks away?
Actually The Opportunities Party has an objective to "Wean our country off fossil fuels by 2050. If we are smart, we can do this in a way that improves our overall prosperity."

Quick summary at http://www.top.org.nz/top6 but briefly they want dump the 'junk’ credits held by the government and plough all revenue from a higher carbon price into helping households and businesses become more energy efficient, including ending the bias towards roads over rail and shipping, and ensuring that all major new investments take into account the true cost of carbon.

more details at https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/garethmorgan/pages/602/attachments/original/1500500425/01237_TOP_Policy_6_-_Climate_Change_description.pdf The part about "ELECTRIFY OUR CARS AND TRAINS" is on page 4.

you might also be interested in "Our electricity system needs to make sure everyone has the right incentives to use and produce energy" section on page 3
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Re: NZ's energy future (7 Sep, 2017)

Postby flyernzl » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:22 pm

You are actually overlooking the subsidy we do already have for EVs.

Road User Tax.

Every vehicle on the road is subject to road use tax. For petrol-driven vehicles, it is included in the price of petrol; you buy.
For non-petrol vehicles, the operator must front up to the Post Office and pay for a mileage -based road use tax. This is no small charge - for my diesel Toyota Corolla, 10,000k cost $647 last time.

Al vehicles must pay this except - you guessed it - EVs.
They have a special exemption.

Obviously this exemption cannot last, if every vehicle was an EV the Government would lose too much money. But it is there now.
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Re: NZ's energy future (7 Sep, 2017)

Postby aardvark_admin » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:31 pm

Interestingly enough though... the exemption is relatively new. Until a couple of years ago, EVs paid RUC just like a 2-tonne diesel truck and, as you say, I can't see the exemption lasting very long once EVs become more commonplace.

The problem is that we need to reduce the capital cost of EVs to encourage a mass uptake.

It's just so much more attractive for the low-income earner to by a cheap dino-guzzling Jap import than spend more for an EV -- even though the total cost of ownership of the EV should be significantly lower over a 5-year period.
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Re: NZ's energy future (7 Sep, 2017)

Postby Malcolm » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:29 am

flyernzl wrote:You are actually overlooking the subsidy we do already have for EVs.

Al vehicles must pay this except - you guessed it - EVs.
They have a special exemption.

Obviously this exemption cannot last, if every vehicle was an EV the Government would lose too much money. But it is there now.


The exemption is only going to last until the EVs hit 5% of the vehicle fleet.
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Re: NZ's energy future (7 Sep, 2017)

Postby Perry » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:58 am

Hiro Protagonist wrote:Just a little rant about "market forces" - while they are useful in driving a market to eliminate waste and excess profiteering, they're far from the be-all and end-all that some ideologically driven types would like to think.

Quite so.

All that's needed if for boundaries to be defined within which market forces operate.
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Re: NZ's energy future (7 Sep, 2017)

Postby Malcolm » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:42 am

Often the markets need to be given a push or even a reset to fix up some things.
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